March 16, 2011

Real Estate Excellence Address QLD Parliament House - Sustaining Tenancies

Speech notes from 16th March 2011.
Good morning Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentleman

Thank you to 4 walls and St Vincent De Paul Society for the opportunity to present this address this morning at the new communities: sustaining tenancies Networking and Information Breakfast.

After almost 20 years in the wonderful Real Estate Industry, it is with great privilege and pleasure that I represent the industry today.

The Real Estate Industry has changed dramatically in the last ten years. We have seen great change come due to increased legislative obligations, higher risks of litigation and increased demand for extraordinary services from clients and customers.

In the last ten years our industry has seen massive change particularly through the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act, Fire and Rescue Services Act and the recently formed Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act; to name but a few significant changes. With new legislative come many increased obligations, increased business costs and increased expectations. Training and education is sometimes a major issue in our industry due to an almost overwhelming legislative responsibility, financial and time restraints.

It is with regret that the current property management registration regime imposed in Queensland under the PAMD Act is heavily focused on sales learning outcomes as opposed to property management. It must be said that the word property manager is not used nor referenced in the current Act. They are called registered salespeople. This is thought to play some part in the struggles that some of our industry face.

The role of today’s property manager is demanding and diverse. A quick snapshot shows us that in one day, a career property manager carries out many of the following tasks:

• Tenant suitability assessment and new tenancies

• Arrears management

• New business management

• Routine and emergency maintenance

• Tenant and lessor requests

• Routine inspections

• Trust account management

• Vacating tenants and bond matters

• Tribunal representation;

to name but a few of the many varied tasks and skills required on a day to day basis.

In relation to refugee housing, there are some obvious problems and maybe not so obvious solutions.

Some of the problems our industry face include;

• Language barriers

• Time barriers

• High expectations of some or all parties

• Supply and demand on property

• A perception of risk, especially with issues in the current public domain such as the most tragic situation on Christmas Island.

Possible solutions are

• Community workers and advocates assisting prospective tenants by making appointments if required with property managers. Property managers, like us all have heavy commitments each day; an unannounced visit may put restraint on the services that can be provided. This is also recommended for advocate and community workers wanting to build relationships with agents and property managers. Time management is a major issue for our industry.

• Community workers and advocates could contribute further by assisting prospective applicants in completing the applications form and assisting in ensuring that required documents such as Identification and proof of income are provided with the tenancy application.

• Prospective tenants could be further briefed on what the expectation and requirements of agents are such as making appointments, completion of application forms and their future tenancy obligations.

• A major issue faced by many is language barriers; what would greatly assist agents and refugees is Government funded interpreter services. The cost at present of these services is a huge barrier for many.

• More information could be provided through fact sheets as an example about refugees and housing issues. This information could be provided to agents and property managers who in turn can pass information to lessor client to assist in understanding and breaking down any barriers.

• Another solution is ensuring that Refugees placed in the private rental market sector are provided are case worker who also assists with any communication with the Property Manager as an ongoing relationship throughout the tenancy.

It must be said that the Real Estate Industry and Property Managers are genuine, compassionate and empathetic people. We are not without our own industry problems and issues; however we all realise that the houses and units we rent and sell, are more importantly somebody’s home.

Thank you again for the opportunity to present the thoughts from a Real Estate Agency perspective. 

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